Procedure to get a general trading license in dubai


Any entrepreneur who wants to set up a business in the UAE should have a general trading license. If you have multiple trading activities in the same or different industries, this license comes in handy, since it covers it all. However, you still need to know the basics about it and how to get one. There´s a certain number of steps and procedures needed to get a general trading license in Dubai.

Getting a general trading license in Dubai doesn´t necessarily have to be a difficult procedure. It can be made simpler by working with the help of a company formation specialist. The specialist you work with should be able to handle your application for you. Nonetheless, most licenses in Dubai/UAE are pretty self-explanatory.

In this article, we´ll cover just that. We´ll talk about the basics of a general trading license in Dubai, and the procedures needed to get one. We´ll cover:

1. What is a general trading license?

As mentioned before, a general trading license in Dubai allows you to cover multiple trading activities. A general trading license allows a company to export, re-export, import, or trade different types of products. Some examples of these types of products are foodstuff, electronics, electrical items under one roof, furniture, etc.

Usually, this type of license is expensive in the mainland. However, if you´re a businessman that sells different products or goods, it´s recommended for you to apply for one. This will make you able to enjoy all these benefits without needing to apply for separate licenses.

Trading of alcohol, medicine, cars, chemicals, etc. cannot be done through this type of license. In the UAE, you require special approval from concerned government authorities or municipalities. However, the DED (Department of Economic Development) can approve these kinds of activities through a commercial trade license.

As said before, a general trading license can be expensive. The minimum investment you need to set up an LLC company is AED 300.000. You don´t need to show a bank guarantee but you do need to mention it in the MOA (Memorandum of Association). During the 1rst year, the approximate government cost for the license is AED 25.000, from the second year onwards it will be around AED 15.000.

2. How to obtain a general trading license in Dubai

Now you know what a general trading license is; however, you might be left wondering how to get a general trading license. There are 9 simple steps you need to do to apply and get a general trading license in Dubai. These are:

  • Trading business location.
  • Company structure.
  • Business activities.
  • Application and approvals.
  • Documentation.
  • Tenancy contract.
  • The final application to the DED.
  • License fee payments.
  • Submission of original documents.

2.1. Trading business location

You´ll need to choose your business location. In Dubai, there are 3 options to choose from; mainland, free zones, or offshore, each one with its own benefits. Your first step is to choose the location.

Firstly, there is the mainland. The main benefit of setting up a company in Dubai mainland is the freedom it gives you. It gives you the authorization to trade across Dubai and the UAE, as well as trade internationally and expands your presence. In addition to this, it also gives you the ability to deal with the UAE government, giving you the scope to tender bids for lucrative government contracts.

Secondly, there are the free zones. They have plenty of benefits that tempt entrepreneurs. The main benefit is that a free zone company gives you 100% foreign ownership. In addition to this, it also gives 100% repatriation of capital and profits and corporate and personal income tax exemptions. Lastly, it exempts you from import and export duties, though you can´t import into UAE Mainland

Last but not least, there´s the offshore. In this location, you won´t pay corporate tax, and like the free zone, it gives you 100% foreign ownership. It also ensures your protection, as it gives you protected assets and lawsuit protection, and complete privacy. You´ll need to take each location´s benefits into account and choose where you want to do business.

2.2. Company Structure

After you choose your location, you´ll need to choose an appropriate trade name and the legal structure for your company. However, you need to follow the regulations to choose each one.

Firstly, there´s your trade name. Before you choose one, there are many regulations to take into account. For example, the name of your business can´t contradict the activities it does and shouldn´t be already reserved by another company.  In addition to this, the name can´t contain obscene or curse words or religious content, etc. Follow these regulations accordingly and choose your trade name.

Secondly, there is the business structure of your company. There are many types of businesses structure you can go for. The most common ones are an LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, and civil company.

2.3. Business Activities

After choosing your business´ name and structure, you´ll need to choose and specify which activities your business will do. You´ll choose the activities that you wish to include in the business license. Nevertheless, you need to take into account that you have a maximum of 10 business activities per license.

For example, here are some businesses activities that you can include in a general trading license in Dubai:

  • Sales.
  • Marketing.
  • Finance.
  • Accounting.
  • Customer service.
  • Human resources.

2.4. Application and approval

After choosing your business activities, the next step is simple. You will need to fill in the application, submit it, and wait for its approval. In addition to this, based on your business activities you need to get external approval if required.

2.5. Documentation

After you´ve submitted the application and have gotten the approval for it, your next step is documentation. You´ll need to gather all necessary documents and all other approved documents from the relevant authorities. The necessary documents to get a general trading license in Dubai are:

  • Application with the signature of the business manager.
  • Proof of business name approved by the DED.
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA).

2.6. Tenancy contract

The next step is to get a tenancy contract. This step is done once your business location has been decided. EJARI has to attest to this tenancy contract.

2.7. The final application to the DED

After all previous steps, you´ll submit the final application to the Department of Economic Development (DED). Once you´ve submitted it, you´ll need to wait for it to get approved to obtain the general trading license.

2.8. License fee payments

After getting your application approved by the DED, you´ll pay the requisite payments for obtaining the license. This includes an issuance fee.

2.9. Submission of original documents

The last step is to submit original documents to the respective organizations. If you want to set up in a free zone or offshore, you´ll submit the original documents to the Commercial Registry at the Trade license and Commercial Registration Department (CRD). Once they´re checked and validated, the CRD adds your company´s name to the Commercial Registry and Here´s all you need to know about the benefits that a UAE free zone offers to investors and entrepreneurs.

Afterward, the DED will give those documents to the Federal Ministry of Economy and they´ll publish them. After being published, the Ministry will issue an approval letter for them. Once all licensing processes are completed, the DED will give you the original trade license and commercial registration certificates.

3. Benefits of a Obtain General Trading License in Dubai

As we mentioned, the process to obtain a general trading license in Dubai can be explained in simple steps. And it can be done quickly since it generally takes 1 week for this process to be completed. However, you might be wondering “What good could a general trading license do for me?” Here we´ll mention some of the benefits you get from a general trading license in Dubai.

3.1. Local and international trade

Firstly, a general trading license in Dubai allows you to import or manufacture all products mentioned in it. After the process completion, you can distribute these products in the local profitable market. However, you can also export or re-export goods in a country of your choice. Consequently, this means huge profit for your business thanks to cheap labor, the tax-free economy, etc.

3.2. Tax-free

More often than not, countries have expensive taxes that you need to pay regarding the import, manufacturing, and selling of many products. However, Dubai doesn’t have almost any taxes to pay. This means that manufacturing goods is almost cost-free (tax-wise) in Dubai and UAE and there are so many benefits of setting up business in the UAE Freezone.

3.3. A large number of products

Apart from some products with sensitive materials or restrictions, almost all products are allowed in Dubai. And since they´re available on a general trade license, you´ll be able to trade large amounts of these products. To put it simply, you´ll pay for the fees of the license just once and you´ll receive benefits for many years.

3.4. Simple process

Obtaining a general trading license in Dubai is not only quick but easy as well. In comparison to other drawn-out registration processes, you can get your license from the DED within 1 week. In addition to this, there´s no need to submit auditing reports in the UAE in case of a general trading license. This saves traders from annual auditing.

3.5. Easy sponsors to dependents

Last but not least, with a general trading license in Dubai, investors apply for visas for their employees more easily. Furthermore, traders can sponsor their dependents, this, in turn, makes it easier for them to acquire the UAE visa.

4. Why you should apply for a General Trading License in Dubai?

4.1. Setting up is easier

One of the main reasons to apply for a general trading license in Dubai is its simplicity. New creativities are made in Dubai and the UAE to make the procedure as straightforward as possible. It´s made so easy that for providing you to meet the suitability standards for a license, you´ll be listed in only 90 minutes with the DED.

4.2. Reasonable setup costs

More often than not, the general way of thinking is that setting up a business in the UAE can be very expensive. However, that isn´t true, since the costs for a trading license are reasonable in comparison to other choices.

4.3. Set up where you want

Launching a business with a general trading license in Dubai allows the owner to take office and storeroom space wherever they want in Dubai. This also applies to the rest of the UAE.

4.4. Set up with many shareholders

If you apply for a general trading license you won´t have any type of restrictions on shareholders. Consequently, this means that you can set up your general trading business with several shareholders without any problems.

4.5. Low barriers to entry

As a fast and simple application method, general trade licenses supply businesspersons occasionally. These businesspersons serve as an occasional barrier to business possession in different ways. First and foremost, direct prices are at their lowest, there´s no demand for paid-up share capital once you´ve launched your business. And as we mentioned before, general trading businesses aren’t required to undergo the annual audit.

5. How can Connect Free Zone help you apply for a General Trading License in Dubai?

A general trading license in Dubai gives you many benefits to you and your business. However, even though the process is simple and quick, you still might have a problem getting your license and will need help. That’s where Connect Free Zone comes in, with over 20 years of experience on the market, we´re the best choice for a company. Let us help you get your general trading license in Dubai successfully.

Would you like to know more about general trading licenses and how to get them? If you have any questions, call us on +97143316688. Or you can also email us at, and you will talk to one of our representatives who will gladly answer all of your questions.

Sanjyam Dhingra

Avatar photoSanjyam DhingraShe is an esteemed Compliance Officer with extensive experience in ensuring corporate adherence to regulatory standards. Her expertise spans a wide range of compliance functions, including regulatory analysis, risk management, and the implementation of compliance programs. She excels in identifying potential compliance issues and developing strategic solutions to mitigate risks.

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